WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming only the third American chief executive to be formally charged under the Constitution’s ultimate remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors.
The historic vote split along party lines Wednesday night, much the way it has divided the nation, over a charge that the 45th president abused the power of his office by enlisting a foreign government to investigate a political rival ahead of the 2020 election. The House then approved a second charge, that he obstructed Congress in its investigation.
US Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), whose district includes Clinton County, stated, “After studying the reports, I did not see conclusive evidence that the President has committed a crime, and this has not reached the high bar that I hold for impeachment. I believe that the power of impeachment should only be used in extreme cases, as it overturns the will of the people and further divides an already-divided nation.
“I trust the voters to make decisions through the electoral process, and there is an election in less than a year. For that reason, I did not vote in favor of the articles of impeachment.
“Despite today’s outcome, I am hopeful that we can all move forward and address the very real problems facing our nation that have gone by the wayside as this process has consumed Washington, including support for our military and veterans, lowering health care costs, and keeping our economy thriving.”
The articles of impeachment, the political equivalent of an indictment, now go to the Senate for trial. If Trump is acquitted by the Republican-led chamber, as expected, he still would have to run for reelection carrying the enduring stain of impeachment on his purposely disruptive presidency.
Trump, who began Wednesday tweeting his anger at the proceedings, pumped his fist before an evening rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, boasting of “tremendous support” in the Republican Party and saying, “By the way it doesn’t feel like I’m being impeached.”
The votes for impeachment were 230-197-1 on the first charge, 229-198-1 on the second.